Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
I am rather tickled by the following piece of auto-generated/collaged spam, left on one of my previous posts:
Which leaves me, at least, with only one (unexpected) question: whether, despite Cowling’s keen understanding of England’s cultural quandary, his method of writing history has not led him towards something like faint and undue optimism. His only suggestion for how a second-generation Christian cultural sensibility might be recovered, apart from some cultural crisis that would spark a new generation of conversions, is “the slow influence which might be exerted by a Christian literature.” At this point, though, I wonder whether Cowling’s study might not profitably ballast itself with some element of material history. By all means, we should always be guilty of what Marx called ideology, and recognize that ideas shape culture at least as decisively as material conditions shape ideas, but one must ask whether, by confining his work to the rarefied atmosphere of intellectual discourse, Cowling does not allow himself to keep artificially alive debates that history has already decided.
The prose is somewhat less irksome than some academese (or worse still, pseudo-intellectual bloggese) that I’ve seen, although one should note that a study can’t really “profitably ballast itself”. (For that matter, I don’t know of any hot air balloons which can ballast themselves, profitably or otherwise.)